Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
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Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
 
The Pity of the Park Fountain
By Nathaniel P. Willis
 
’TWAS a summery day in the last of May—
  Pleasant in sun or shade;
And the hours went by, as the poets say,
Fragrant and fair in their flowery way;
And a hearse crept slowly through Broadway—        5
  And the Fountain gaily play’d.
 
The Fountain play’d right merrily,
  And the world look’d bright and gay;
And a youth went by, with a restless eye,
Whose heart was sick and whose brain was dry;        10
And he prayed to God that he might die—
  And the Fountain play’d away.
 
Uprose the spray like a diamond throne,
  And the drops like music rang—
And of those who marvell’d how it shone,        15
Was a proud man, left, in his shame, alone;
And he shut his teeth with a smother’d groan—
  And the Fountain sweetly sang.
 
And a rainbow spann’d it changefully,
  Like a bright ring broke in twain;        20
And the pale, fair girl who stopp’d to see,
Was sick with the pangs of poverty—
And from hunger to guilt she chose to flee
  As the rainbow smiled again.
 
With as fair a ray, on another day,        25
  The morning will have shone;
And as little mark’d, in bright Broadway,
A hearse will glide among busy and gay,
And the bard who sings will have pass’d away—
    And the Fountain will play on!        30
 
 
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